St. Charles County tossed over 1,000 ballots in November

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) – St. Charles County’s top election official says more than 1,000 absentee and mail-in ballots in November were rejected because of mistakes by voters.

St. Louis Public Radio reported Monday that Missouri’s third-largest county, with roughly 400,000 residents, rejected 1,031 absentee and mail-in ballots, more than any other county in the state. The report cited data from the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.

The county tossed out 1.5% of all absentee and mail-in ballots, more than twice the statewide average.

St. Charles County Director of Election Kurt Bahr said the responsibility to correctly cast a ballot lies with the voter, not the election authority. He said most of the uncounted ballots were disqualified for missing a notary’s signature when one was required.

Mail-in ballots, a new voting option in Missouri in November, were the most likely to have problems. One out of every 25 of them cast in St. Charles County was tossed out.

Twelve counties rejected absentee and mail-in ballots at higher rates than St. Charles County. Among them were Greene County, which includes Springfield, and Phelps County.

Still, the Secretary of State’s office said votes went uncounted at far lower rates than in recent elections. Nearly three times as many people cast absentee ballots in the 2020 general election than in 2016, yet there were 304 fewer total absentee ballots rejected last November.

St. Louis County received about 3½ times as many early ballots as St. Charles County, yet rejected 400 fewer.

St. Louis County Democratic Elections Director Eric Fey said election workers contacted about 1,600 voters who submitted ballot envelopes with missing information.

Bahr said the St. Charles Board of Elections office was too busy to contact voters who turned in ballots with mistakes.

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